My native tongue is English and I grew up in New Zealand (though I wasn't born there). I studied Mandarin for four years but I haven't really used it for about two, so I'm extremely rusty. My intention of toddling off to China to improve my fluency, upon completeion of my degree, has been temporarily thwarted by falling in love with a Catalan!
As a result of this, I recently moved to Catalunya and am now in the process of simultaneously learning Catalan and Spanish. I have not attneded any formal classes yet, as I came here just in time to miss the last round of courses and will now have to wait until September for the next round. Needless to say, I cannot wait that long to acquire at least some of both languages!
I have several books and dictionaries and my husband and his family are no end of help to me but there are still a few stumbling stones that are impeding my progress.
The biggest single problem for me, in both languages, is the number of verb forms they possess. As I said, I have books and they contain varying degrees of information about this matter. However, the way my brain works means that learning different forms throughout the lessons of a book just confuses me.
I know, I know, it sounds perfectly organized but what I would really prefer is some sort of resource that basically lists them all together - with an example of usage for each, if possible. I have no idea if such a thing exists but if it does and any of you know of it, please tell me! At the moment, I'm having particular issues with the past tenses.
I've searched with Google but, as I am only fluent enough in English, to read what I find, the verb forms covered are
a) labelled with their English names, which are different to the Catalan or Spansh names (obviously)
b) much more limited in number than the Catalan or Spanish forms.
Basically, I am trying to find a way to equate the Catalan and Spanish tenses & aspects with their English equivalents.
I have tried using sentences of English and asking people "How would you say this in Catalan?" but it doesn't always work, if they're not abslutely clear on the meaning of the English sentence to begin with!
In addition, whenever I do seem to have got to grips with a form, someone goes and uses it differenlty and I still have little enough fluency that it's hard for me to tell if they are just exhibiting the difference between formal rules and actual usage (present in all languages, of course) or whether I really didn't understand it, after all.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!